Sourcing your development site can be daunting and overwhelming. It sometimes feels like an endless journey with potential for so many bumps and hidden pitfalls along the way. What’s more, it can seem almost impossible to know where to start with an insurmountable number of options. So where do you begin and how can you assess whether the land you take will offer the foundations for a successful project?
The first step is actually thinking about the end. What is your ultimate goal?
When you define this, then it becomes much easier to identify the steps you need to take to reach a result that you want. It is important to start with the basics, profit is of course one of the key indicators as to whether or not to take on a deal, but people can become blindsided by this. Brand awareness is a really key point. Is your final result synonymous with how you want to be portrayed?
If you are positioning yourself as a supplier of high end properties, then everything needs to reflect that from the interiors to the location to those all-important final touches. This helps build your credibility and defines a market niche. What’s more your sites showcase your work, simply advertising your company outside of your existing developments is a great way to get yourself out there. You can speak to your audience without even knowing it and it means that sellers can approach you which saves the trouble of sourcing your next site. I can give so many examples of deals that I have done off the back of developers seen advertising in the local area.
On a similar point, your reputation is so important
Today, information is so accessible and with the rise of social media your reputation could be made or broken by appraisals from other people. That’s why it’s so important to be supported by a strong professional team, whilst you are driving the project, the conduct of your service providers have a knock-on affect on your market perception. Don’t try and cut corners or save money, this’ll be detrimental further down the line. Furthermore, providing public spaces, affordable housing and rejuvenating local life are all must-dos so think about that when you embark on a project.
What will the land be used for?
It is important to consider the wider ramifications of your project. If you find a site in a small and quaint town, and you drop in a noisy nightclub, you are unlikely to be pleasing the neighbours, ensuring a successful sale or learning about upcoming sites ahead of other developers. I think one of the pitfalls is forcing things to fit your final goal, it is ok to be dynamic and just think about these basic factors, if it doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t.
My final piece of advice ties into the above
Know your market. It might sound obvious, but knowledge is vital to a successful development deal. Make sure you know your target demographic and you’ve done your homework. When you are assessing an opportunity, undertaking the correct information and research will allow you to be in a better position to negotiate a purchase price, brand your development appropriately and pitch resales at the right level. I think the underlying theme is to be prepared and make sure you’re confident with how your project will progress. If you’ve chosen a piece of land and the development would be ready tomorrow, would you be certain that it could sell? If the answer’s no, then you probably shouldn’t move forwards. There is nothing wrong with moving onto your next site and starting again, it’s better to scrap the ground work than get halfway through a project and realise it isn’t correct, as you first suspected.